Other than the usual reasons why banks go belly-up there is another underlying reason why they do.
If I had to classify it, I would probably be forced to say that the majority of them employ people who can’t think their way out of a paper bag.
Yesterday, I had to put some documents in my safe deposit box. The rule is that the box has to be taken out of the slot and put in a room where the customer sits.
You can’t just shove the papers into the box. Bank rules – box comes out; it’s transported to a room where the customer sits; you go into the room with the locked door behind you; then you shove your papers into the box and call for someone to take you back to the vault. If you’re lucky, they come immediately. More often than not, you have to wait for someone to come for you. Yesterday was one of those days where I had to wait.
When I first got my box, we noticed that it was old and the side was dented which made it difficult to get in and out of the compartment. You had to jimmy it around until it went in or out. I asked for another box and was told that they didn’t have any in stock that weren’t being used by other customers and they said that the next time I come in, they would switch boxes.
For several years, every time I went to the bank I asked about a new box and each time they didn’t have one to switch for me.
Yesterday, Murphy’s Law was in effect: “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”
I was pressed for time and I had just enough time to put my documents in the box and get out of the bank quickly and still make my appointment on the other side of town. But Murphy’s Law was in effect.
As soon as the teller tried to get my box back into the space, the box jammed and she couldn’t get it to move. By this time, the minutes are marching by and I could see that if she took much longer, I was going to be late for my appointmemt.
I asked her if she had another box that I could switch my stuff to and she said she would get one. When she came back, she said that she found one and that it would just take five minutes.
Meantime, the clock is ticking away and she’s still not back. I poked my head out of the room to see where she had gone off to and I saw that she had a pile of forms that were supposed to be filled out by me, and another teller was showing her how to fill them out.
I called out to her, reminding her that I had an appointment on the other side of town and asked her what was taking her so long. When she came back she told me that she was getting all these forms for me to fill out so that I could get another box.
This made no sense to me at all. I looked at the new metal box which looked no different than the one I had, minus the dents and broken hinges and asked why I couldn’t keep the same box number and just switch the metal box.
No can do. Even though the boxes were identical in size, shape, and appearance, the bank would not allow me to exchange boxes. By this time, I knew I was not going to make my appointment.
If it had been any other bank transaction, I would have told them I’ll come back another day but, with the contents of my safe deposit box hanging half in and half out of the slot, this was not an option.
Even if I were willing to walk out of the bank with my box half in and half out of the slot, I doubt if they would have allowed me to leave without spending another hour looking for papers for me to sign, absolving them of all responsibility for missing contents.
The pièce de résistance was when she handed me my new keys and asked me for both of the keys to my old box. I told her that I only have the one key with me and she had the temerity to chastise me for not having both keys with me.
I couldn’t believe it. She stood there warning me that if I didn’t return the other key quickly, I would be charged a lot of money for it. And then she took both of the new keys to try them both out before entrusting me with them.
It didn’t pay to pull hair out of my head or to yell and scream at these bank employees for their inefficiency and lack of critical thinking skills. I wasn’t surprised to find out that my appointment, which had been made months ago, was given away to someone else.
Murphy’s Law was alive and well. Whatever could go wrong, did go wrong.